This is not a semantic comparison. Hundreds died trying to cross the Berlin wall. Thousands have died trying to cross the walls that surround Europe and which separate the US from Mexico. They have drowned in rivers and the Mediterranean, died of thirst in deserts and suffocated in the backs of containers. Dozens have died in suspicious circumstances in the hands of immigration police. Thousands more sit in prison camps across Europe, waiting to be deported.
The old East German regime always insisted that those who died trying to cross its wall were not 'political refugees' but rather a mixture of economic migrants seeking higher wages in the west and 'criminals' fleeing justice. The new regimes of Blair, Bush and Ahern defend the deaths of those crossing the new walls by reference to criminal gangs and the 'fact' that those crossing are not 'political refugees' but rather a mixture of economic migrants seeking higher wages in the west and 'criminals' fleeing justice
The workers of this planet need real globalisation. We need the global freedom to travel, live and work where we want. We need access to education, healthcare and clean water where ever we happen to be. We need to make global agreements that will control pollution, reduce greenhouse gases and produce the goods and services we need. We need to end militarism and war across the world.
There are two projects of globalisation working in the world right now. The first is the one you are told about on the 6 o'clock news, the project of capitalist or neo-liberal 'globalisation' that seeks to erode our living standards and remove environmental protection. It is the project of the elite who own most of the wealth of this world. It is the project of the EU summits, the World Economic Forum, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation.
The second is that of the anarchists and others whom the media often call 'anti-globalisation protesters'. We also have our international summits but perhaps not that surprisingly the mainstream media, which is after all owned and controlled by the elites, fail to mention them. With few exceptions we only appear in the media as the mysterious and motiveless protesters who insist on disrupting the 'legitimate business' of the 'democratic' world leaders as they meet in Seattle, Prague or Genoa.
But all the same that second project of globalisation from below has been growing throughout the last decade. It emerges into view wherever there is resistance to the neo-liberal project. It may appear minor as in the resistance to the bin tax in Ireland. Or it may be spectacular as the people of Argentina resist the IMF and force one president after another to resign. The bosses need us, we don't need them. The working people across the globe create the worlds wealth. Together we can bring this new world into being.
As well as writting a letter to us at WSM, PO Box 1528, Dublin 8 you can also comment on any of the articles in this issue at www.struggle.ws/wsm/comment.html
This edition is No68 published in Jan 2002